I watched my dog experience a medical emergency on camera: Here’s what I did

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Part of being a pet parent, not unlike a real parent, is that you’re constantly worried about their wellbeing. If they’re sick, you comfort them. If they rip up your shoes you try your best to stay mad, but their pleading eyes and sweet face soften your heart and wash away any anger or resentment. Being a pet owner means keeping up to date with any allergies or medical issues (pug owners know the vibes). When something goes wrong, you immediately jump to the worst-case scenario. 

A few months ago, I set up a Wyze cam so I could keep an eye on my Jack Russell, Loki, while I was in the office. Like any pet owner who buys their first indoor security camera, I was eager to see what he got up to while left to his own devices. 

On my way to the office, I got a notification from the Wyze app that he’d entered the frame of the camera. I opened my phone, and my heart sank. 

A medical issue he experienced a few weeks ago had resurfaced – the only difference was my partner wasn’t around to help him. I’ll spare you the details because it's unseemly, but all I could see was him staring dead into the eye of the camera, his limbs stiff and his body trembling. I was conflicted – should I go home? What if he gets worse? Even though it wasn't a matter of life or death, as far as I knew, this was the first time he was having an episode on his own. 

I consulted my friend, who works as a veterinary nurse. She advised that his condition isn't uncommon in other dogs, and it's likely he'll be fine. She recommended I monitor him throughout the day, and look out for several adverse symptoms that indicate his condition is worsening and needs to be taken to the emergency vet.

My heart was in my throat. I was fraught that without me being there, he'd do something to cause his condition to worsen. The prospect of watching my dog stare into the camera for hours is much scarier, actually. Like the hypochondriac dog mother I am, I checked the camera just about once every five minutes to assess and monitor his symptoms. About an hour into the workday, he showed signs of improvement and began his daily routine of lounge parkour and guarding the balcony from innocent pedestrians. 

If it weren’t for the camera, he still would have been okay, but I cannot understate the relief I felt being able to keep an eye on him from afar, in case it did take a turn for the worse. 

Watching your pet experience pain through the security camera is a niche but petrifying experience. If you’re ever unlucky enough to find yourself in the same position, the best course of action is, unsurprisingly, to remain calm. The absolute worst thing you can do is sprint to that dark cavern at the back of your mind and scream 'Oh my God what if he dies and I lose my sweet precious little son?!' Stay calm, think clearly, and take heed of the following steps.

Talk to your pet

Many indoor security cameras have two-way audio where can speak to your pet through a feature in the app. If your pet is barking into the void, destroying a pillow, or panicking because of their separation anxiety, try speaking to them through the camera. As their parent, your voice is comforting to them, and they'll probably recognise your voice. Reminding them that you’re there, in some capacity or another, could calm them down slightly, or distract them from their pain.

Know the warning signs

You know your dog well and it's probably no surprise what issues they struggle with most, whether it be separation anxiety, seasonal allergies, or arthritis. Of course, it all depends on what specific issue your dog is struggling with, but these are some general warning signs you should look out for. If your pet exhibits any of these behaviours, you should immediately rush them to the emergency vet. 

If your pet is vomiting, experiencing multiple bouts of diarrhoea, and they've lost their appetite, take them to the emergency vet. Keep an eye out for any blood in your pet’s vomit or stool, as this can indicate ingestion of a toxin. Keep your pet away from poisonous plants and toxic foods like chocolate and onions. 

Loss of consciousness, sudden fainting, or seizures can point to something seriously wrong in your pet’s brain. It can mean they're not getting enough oxygen, or it can be a sign of internal bleeding, anaemia, or lung issues. 

Laboured breathing, choking, or persistent coughing can mean more than just a tickle in their throat. Choking and coughing can indicate your pet has a foreign object stuck in their trachea, or can also be a sign of an infectious disease like bronchitis. 

If your dog has separation anxiety or is stressed out by thunderstorms, shaking and whining are commonplace. However, when it seemingly has no trigger, you should take whining and shaking for no apparent reason as a sign that something is wrong, as it's likely they’re in pain. 

Swollen or bleeding eyes, nose, or mouth can indicate the presence of a blood clot, virus, or an irritant like smoke or dust. Trauma in and around the eye can cause the eye to pop out of its socket, which is painful, serious, and absolutely warrants a trip to the emergency room.

Final word

I will always advocate for purchasing a pet camera, not just so you can see what your pet is up to while you’re not around, but because it's a saving grace for pets that are prone to medical issues. In case they ingest something they shouldn’t or a medical issue flares up, you can take measures to make sure they’re okay. You can also take photos or recordings of the video camera footage to determine what's wrong with your pet and get them back to their happy selves.

Hannah Geremia
Written by
Hannah Geremia
Hannah has had over six years of experience in researching, writing, and editing quality content. She loves gaming, dancing, and animals, and can usually be found under a weighted blanket with a cup of coffee and a book.

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